#33 Minnesota Women's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Minnesota Golden Gophers

Overall Rank: #33
Conference Rank# 5 Big Ten Conference
#33 Minnesota Women's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview
Minnesota Team Page


The Minnesota Golden Gopher women's basketball team returns a nice mix of experience and talent in 2013-14. Minnesota is looking to return to the NCAA tournament after making an appearance in the WNIT last year where the Golden Gophers fell to Ball State in the opening round. With a guard heavy roster this season, look for Minnesota to push the tempo a bit more than normal and force the rest of the Big Ten to play at their pace this season.

2012-13 Record:  18-14, 7-9
2012-13 Postseason: WNIT
Coach: Pam Borton, 12th season at Minnesota, 16th overall
Coach Record: 214-139 at Minnesota, 283-185 overall,

Minnesota’s offensive attack has the potential to be pretty explosive this season. The leader of this attack is junior Rachel Banham, who averaged over 20 points per game and was first-team all-Big Ten and was a force at both ends of the basketball court. Defensively, Banham ended up ranking among the top ten sophomores in steals with just under two per game. In the low post, senior forward Micaela Riche is going to be relied upon heavily to take the scoring load off of Banham and sophomore Shayne Mullaney, who was one of the best freshmen in the Big Ten last season. The Golden Gophers also are very good at the free throw line as they shot over 76 percent last season. This should help Minnesota in very tightly contested games during the Big Ten portion of the schedule. In addition, Minnesota was very efficient in shooting from the perimeter as converting just under 35 percent of their three point shots last season. If the Golden Gophers can expand the number of made three point shots, that should help swing close games in their favor instead of coming up short.

The defense last season was problematic at times.  Opponents were able score just under 66 points per game and shot pretty consistently at just under 40 percent against Minnesota. The addition of redshirt freshman Amanda Zahui B, one of the top post players out of Sweden, can hopefully make an instant impact down low for the Golden Gophers and force teams to try and beat Minnesota from the perimeter instead. Another concern is the shortage of players on the roster as the Golden Gophers are going into this season with just ten players. The injury factor is a concern, especially in the post, as there are only a handful of post players on the roster and any injuries to the likes of Micaela Riche would be a difficult injury to overcome for Minnesota.

Final Projection:
The Golden Gophers will be tested early and often as they to Omaha to take on Creighton on November 16th.They will host Miami in the Big Ten/ACC challenge on December 5th. Also, a big intersectional matchup with UCLA in Williams Arena will be another litmus test for Minnesota heading into the difficult Big Ten Conference schedule. The conference schedule will test the Golden Gophers early on in January with trips to Nebraska and Penn State. If Minnesota can navigate that and get an early win against either of those two teams or against Michigan State, this should give them plenty of confidence. If this Golden Gopher team can stay healthy all season long they should contend for an upper tier finish in the Big Ten Conference and return to the NCAA tournament.

Projected Postseason Tournament:  NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Rachel Banham, Junior, Guard, 20.7 points per game
Sari Noga, Senior, Guard, 7.0 points per game
Shayne Mullaney, Sophomore, Guard, 6.7 points per game
Micaela Riche, Senior, Forward, 13.2 points per game
Amanda Zahui B., Redshirt Freshman, Center, DNP last season

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 69.4 (39th nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.5 (259, 11)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.9 (20. 2)
Field-Goal Defense:  39.8 (231, 11)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 4.4 (211, 11)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.7 (26, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 76.1 (19, 3)
Rebound Margin: 2.7 (98, 6)
Assists Per Game: 14.2 (73, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 15.5 (80, 6)

Madness 2013 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#89 Joanna Hedstrom


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